Apeldoorn: Cleaning up WWII ammunition will cost millions

German troops in WWII (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/U.S. National Archives and Records Administration). (German troops in WWII (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/U.S. National Archives and Records Administration))

The municipality of Apeldoorn will neat millions of euros from the government to clean up ammunition and explosives left behind in the woods around the city by the German army after the Second World War, a spokesperson for the municipality said to broadcaster NOS.

The ammunition involved are the remnants of Germany’s largest ammunition storage in WWII.  A project to clean up these explosives started in 1998 and currently about half of the 1,200 hectare area is clean.

Though there are still many dangerous areas with material so unstable that the areas were closed off to everyone, including the fire department. A study by TNO and the fire department, commissioned by the municipality, showed that if a fire erupts in the woods, it could turn uncontrollable and pose a danger to residential areas and public attractions including Palace Het Loo and Apenheul.

TNO also researched the best way to deal with the ammunition, including a cleanup, excavation or just leaving the are as is. The institute concluded that the best solution is to clean the area up.

According to the municipality's calculations, that would cost about 40 million euros and take about a decade. "Without help from the government, that is absolutely impossible", the spokesperson said to NOS. He added that if the area is clean, it  can be safely used for forest management, conservation and recreation. Or, for example, widening the A1 highway.